UPDATE: A representative from Twitch has contacted us to clarify their stance on selling video games access through their Twitch subscription service.
Twitch offers a substantial developer program with a robust API: http://dev.twitch.tv. In the case of Vlambeer, they decided to use Twitch Connect functionality in a very interesting and innovative way. They are automatically identifying subscribers and offering them access to the game as part of the Vlambeer Twitch channel subscriber benefits. It’s yet another example of how our community leverages the Twitch platform in new and inventive ways.
Early access to Nuclear Throne is being serviced to participants that signed up with a subscription to Vlambeer’s Twitch channel, and is not being sold access directly by Twitch.
ORIGINAL: Twitch has been stepping it up over the past few months. They gained official streaming rights for E3 and now they appear to be both funding and selling game access through their Twitch.tv website. For example, Joystiq reports that they will match the remaining funds for Kickstarter-backed games project Choice Chamber as funding winds down ahead of the Sunday deadline. It would not have likely met its goal without Twitch’s help, which is disappointing for such a novel concept.
Additionally, according to MCV UK, Twitch will be selling Steam Early Access, special Twitch emoticons and a subscription to Vlambeer’s Twitch channel for the game Nuclear Throne. 60% of revenue gained will go directly to Vlambeer, which will cost $12.99 to access in a one-time price. That price model is quite different than what Twitch normally offers in a subscription price, which usually runs at $4.99/month.
Twitch is in the unique opportunity to both market and sell games that they help fund all in one website. While many will enjoy Let’s Plays of indie and AAA games on Youtube, having control of selling the game being viewed at the click of a button within the viewing space gives the service a bevy of interesting sales opportunities. However, by taking ~40% off the profits from said new subscriptions, the pill for indie developers would be much harder to swallow than through Steam’s 30% cut and Humble Bundle’s ~10% cut.
Nonetheless, we will have to see how many games Twitch will start to take under its wing. Perhaps this could even be the beginning of partnerships with AAA publishers or break-out developers. The possibilities are near endless.
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